DETROIT – Tarik Skubal was planning to head to the mound for the game’s first pitch. Then he realized the Detroit Tigers were the visiting team at Comerica Park and Oakland’s Frankie Montas would be on the rubber.
“Thank God someone mentioned it before the game, because I almost ran out there for the top of the first inning,” Skubal said. “Montas and I would have both been on the mound. It was weird, but that’s baseball.”
The Tigers were the visiting team in their own ballpark in the opener of a unique doubleheader caused by Major League Baseball’s lockout, ending a 27-inning scoreless streak and a six-game skid with a 6-0 victory over the reeling Athletics on Tuesday.
In a matchup of last-place teams, Skubal (2-2) allowed three hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked three. Jonathan Schoop homered and scored twice, raising his batting average from .139 to .154.
“It felt good to win,” Skubal said. “Their guy was really good, so I was just trying to give us a chance to stay in the game and get some late offense.”
Under MLB’s original schedule announced last year, Detroit was to have played three games at Oakland from April 4-6 in its second series of the season. But the first week was postponed by the lockout, and MLB rescheduled one of the games as part of a doubleheader at Comerica Park while keeping Oakland as the home team. The other games are to be played as a doubleheader at the Oakland Coliseum on July 21, what was to have been an off-day during the All-Star break.
Detroit wore its white home uniforms despite batting first, while the A’s wore green tops and gray pants. The Tigers reverted to the home team in the second game.
Oakland has lost 10 of 11 and was shut out for the fifth time. Montas (2-3) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.
While Detroit improved to 9-20, the A’s are 11-19.
A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus and left fielder Chad Pinder collided in the fifth while trying for Willi Castro’s shallow fly ball. Both players required attention from athletic trainers and remained in the game.
“It’s scary when you are running out there, because you have the worst-case scenario running through your head,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Luckily, Elvis’ shin — the one that hasn’t needed surgery — just grazed Chad’s temple. Our trainers took every precaution, and Chad passed all the concussion tests.”
Castro reached on the single to put runners on first and second with no outs, and Tucker Barnhart’s bunt single loaded the bases. Derek Hill’s sacrifice fly ended Detroit’s scoreless streak, and Robbie Grossman beat out a potential double-play grounder as Castro scored.
Schoop homered to make it 3-0 in the sixth, and Jeimer Candelario hit a three-run double in the seventh off Kirby Snead.
“I thought I was pretty good, to be honest,” Montas said. “That’s still a lineup of major league hitters. No bad hitters get to this level.”
In Castro’s first at-bat after his fifth-inning bloop single, he hit another pop fly into shallow left. This time, both Andrus and Pinder backed off, allowing the ball to drop. The play was originally ruled an error on Andrus, but changed after the game to a hit for Castro.
Neither player started the second game of the doubleheader, but Kotsay said they were available.
Oakland agreed to minor league contracts with INF Matt Davidson and RHP Jorge Juan.
The second game of the doubleheader featured the teams’ 27th players as starting pitchers. Oakland’s RHP Adrian Martinez was to make his major league debut against Detroit’s Alex Faedo (0-0, 3.60), making his second big league start.
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